Sesimbra Intro > Sights and Activities > The Cabo Espichel > The Serra da Arrabida > Lisbon day trips
Sesimbra is a charming fishing town and popular holiday destination that is close to a selection of beautiful and varied beaches. The coastline that surrounds Sesimbra is protected by the Serra da Arrabida national park and the lack of tourist development has enabled the area to retain its natural beauty. There are many great beaches in the Sesimbra region and they are only a short drive from Lisbon. This guide will provide an introduction to the beaches of Sesimbra.
The Praia da Califórnia in Sesimbra
Overview of Sesimbra’s Beaches
There are three main areas of beaches that are within the vicinity of Sesimbra:
• The town beaches which are within walking distance of Sesimbra
• The beaches of Portinho da Arrabida
• The beaches of the Lagoa de Albufeira and southern edge of the Costa da Caparica.
The town beaches are the most accessible but tend to be the busiest during the summer months. The bay of Sesimbra is divided into two beaches with the Praia do Ouro closer to the fishing harbour and the Praia da Califórnia to the east. Both beaches are very similar and have calm sea waters which are suitable for families.
The stunning Portinho da Arrabida
The beaches of the Portinho da Arrabida are considered as some of Portugal’s finest beaches. They are in a stunning location, backed by the green hills or steep cliffs of the national park, while the calm waters of blues and turquoises overlook the Sado Estaury. These beaches can get busy during the summer and need a rental car to visit. The Portinho da Arrabida includes four different beaches and the largest is the Praia da Figueirinha
The Costa da Caparica is the 17km long beach that stretches the western side of the Setubal Peninsula. This coastline is very different from the other two as it is exposed to the powerful Atlantic Ocean and is the place to head to for surfing or body boarding. The southern edge of the Costa da Caparica is significantly quieter than the northern side and the area has a wild and rugged atmosphere.
The Lagoa de Albufeira is a series of sandy lagoons that offer sheltered waters on the southern side of the Costa da Caparica. The lagoon’s beaches are surrounded by pine forests and it is hard to believe that this tranquil setting is less than a 30 minute drive from central Lisbon.
Where to go to avoid the summer crowds
During the short Portuguese summer holidays the Portuguese flock to the beaches and the beaches of Sesimbra are no exception. To avoid the crowds it is suggested to visit the southern edge of the Costa da Caparica as these are the largest beaches of the region. The beaches also tend to be the busiest at the weekends.
The Praia da Figueirinha is in a stunning setting
Tourist information for Sesimbra’s beaches
The majority of the visitors to the beaches of the Sesimbra region will either be Portuguese holidaymakers or day-trippers, there will be few other foreign tourists. The beaches of Sesimbra attract a range of ages and are suitable for all visitors, the only exception is Meco Beach which is Portugal’s oldest and most famous nudist beach.
It is possible surf close to Sesimbra but a rental car is needed
For families it is recommended to avoid the strong currents and tides of the Costa da Caparica beaches. During the summer all of the popular beaches are supervised by life guards. Parasols and sun loungers can be rented for E10-15 per day. It is advisable to bring sun tan lotion and sun blocks from your home country as they are very expensive in Portugal.
Travel to Sesimbra’s Beaches
A rental car is needed to visit the beaches of the Sesimbra region. The only beaches which are accessible from Lisbon by public transport are the beaches which are within walking distance of Sesimbra. During the day there are regular and inexpensive bus services between Lisbon and Sesimbra, for a guide please click here.
The Praia do Ouro is closer to the harbour in Sesimbra
Car parking can be difficult to find for the beaches of the Portinho da Arrabida but there is no public transport to them, even from Sesimbra.